Victor’s hands had transformed into snakes, and his legs into tentacles, but otherwise, everything was fine.
The world had turned orange, and the stars into red eyes looking down on him. The pyramid now looked like a Freudian representation of pent-up sexual energies, and the spirit of slaughtered cows danced around it.
“Viiiiiiiiiccccc!” Chocolatine said, walking and talking in slow motion. “Aaaaarrrrrrrrreeee yyyooooouuuu aaaaalllllrrrrrriiiiiggggghhhhhttttt?”
“Yes,” Victor said. “I feel amazing.” He felt warm inside, as if the energies of the cosmos heated him up.
“Yyoooouuu doonnnottt loookkk aallrrrrigggghtttt!”
Victor looked up to see Vainqueur flying under the crimson eyed sky. The dragon had gained a pony-shaped crown and the look of a drunk psychopath in his eyes.
And the dragon ripped the skies in two and showered the Thaoten city with gold and minions. He could see them fall, all of them. Allison, Charlene, Miel, Malfy, Jules, Rolo, all of them falling like a rain of bodies with bright baby smiles on their faces.
Okay, maybe there was something wrong with the universe.
That was what the intellectual, rational part of Victor thought. But somehow, he couldn’t bring himself to care. He felt happy, like never before.
So the Vizier hopped happily in the street with Chocolatine, as the other minions landed on their feet among the cow ghosts and the giant lizards eating them. Allison transformed into a tree upon landing, Charlene into a swarm of bats, Malfy into a giant centipede with a thousand contracts in each pincer, showing them to the lizards. Houses turned into candy and sweet cakes; everything smelled like orange.
And Vainqueur vomited honey on everyone.
“This world is amazing!” Victor declared, climbing up a tree so he could see the beautiful landscape better. He found it strangely difficult.
“VVIIIICCC!” Chocolatine called him from below, as he continued his ascension upward. “Stttttttoooopppp! Peeeeeeeopppplleee aaaarrreee waaatttchhhiiiinnnggg!”
The great cosmic eyes looked down on him with curious interest, for a reason Victor couldn’t explain. The tree of life put a branch in his face, but as he kept climbing, it started helping him get up. From below, Chocolatine howled and transformed into a wolf, before chewing the roots.
The Vizier finally reached the top of the tree and looked at this amazing world with fresh new eyes. A message boiled within him; a message of peace and harmony, that he couldn’t wait to share.
“MRRR. Viiiicctoooor!” Miel called him, flying above the tree where he had taken refuge. “Yooouuurr kkaaaaarrmmaaa! Thiiinnnkk aaabooouttt ttthhee kaaarmmaaa!”
With the beautiful energies bursting within him, Victor couldn’t lie any longer. “I lied! I lied about everything!” he said, flying toward her and dancing with her above the ground, far away from the tree below and everyone else. “I have a Perk!”
And he blessed her with the light of truth, unloading every lie he had ever said. They all transformed into flies, making him lighter and warmer.
Miel then transformed. She transformed before Victor’s very eyes, her eyes turning red, her two hands multiplying into four, eight, twenty, thousands! They slapped, and punched, and clawed him everywhere that counted.
He should have felt pain, but instead, he could sense himself approaching enlightenment.
A hand sent him flying back, and he bounced back a building, then on a bat, then on a soft marshmallow thing that propelled him back on his two feet.
Congratulations! For daring to venture through the street of a metropolis completely naked, you earned the [Exhibitionist] personal Perk!
[Exhibitionist]: You gain a bonus to Evasion when fighting naked.
He looked at himself and realized he had no armor anymore. But he couldn’t see his fleshy bits, for his skin now shone with the power of love. He had become a walking neon star, illuminating the universe with love radiation.
|Warning: for publicly confessing your insurance fraud, you have lost all the benefits of your Karma Insurance plan!|
Just in time for a horde of winged monsters to charge at him from all sides, waving underwear and pants at him.
“STTTTOOOPPP HIIMMM!” a thunderous voice shouted hysterically. “UUSSEEE TTHEEE PAAANTTS! FRRRAAAUUUDDDDSSSSTTTTEEERRR!”
“MIIINNIIIOONNN!” Vainqueur shouted from above, vomiting honey. “KIIIICCCKKK TTTHEEIRRR ASSS! YOOUU CAAANNN DOOO ITTT!”
Victor could, for he now wielded the one true power of love. He raised his hands, and fired a rainbow at the hateful masses from his snake-fingers. He kept showering everyone with his light, defeating all those who dared approach.
This was what being a god felt like!
“Do you see, Vic?” Chocolatine’s voice echoed in his head, except no longer in slow motion. “It always looks like this to me!”
“It’s wonderful!” Victor shouted back, blasting everyone with rainbows.
At long last, once he had overcome all the hate, he summoned a cup of chocolate to his hand and showered the winged creatures with the substance. They quickly rose from the dead as chocolate statues, delicious and sugar-full.
Bats and loving people surrounded him, to partake in his love radiation. They took his chocolate cup and he shared his warmth like a lamb, letting them bite him everywhere. They absorbed his energies, and while he felt weaker, he had to share it with everyone.
Congratulations! For being bitten by dozens of vampires eager to drink your holy blood—and Charlene—as part of a feast gone awry, you have earned the [Vampire Kiss] monster Perk!
[Vampire Kiss]: You can drink the blood of the living to replenish yourself by biting them, consuming a liter of blood every minute of sustained effort. You recover half the HP damage you inflicted, and the victim contracts the [Vampiric Red Plague] unless they possess resistance or immunity to [Disease]. Creatures without blood are immune to this Perk.
Warning: critical health!
“Uussee ooouuurrr poooweer!” Xolotl’s voice echoed, as the bats all offered their own holy energies in return. “Uussee ooouurr poooweeer!
Victor raised his hands and collected all the radiation offered to him, the rainbows flowing into his heart and refreshing him.
|[Blood Fountain] activated! You recovered all your lost HP!|
“Come to me!”
A voice called from above. From the Mooooon!
“Come to me!”
And Victor answered, riding a rainbow toward the shining celestial object. The city became a speck, as he flew out of the atmosphere and through the dark cosmic void.
Victor turned his head behind him, for the voice did not belong to Vainqueur.
It was that cursed cat he inherited from Lavere, Felix von Meow! Chasing him on his own rainbow! “Your lap is mine, manling!” the feline boasted with fiery determination, claws extended. “Come back to me!”
“How can you fly?!” Victor asked.
“I am a cat! I can do anything!”
Quick, Victor accelerated, trying to outrun his furry pursuer. Thankfully, powered by envy instead of cosmic love, Felix couldn’t catch up to the Vizier, who entered the Moooooon’s orbit.
He watched Croissant, dressed like a barbarian, fending off spiders and looking up at him. “Croissant!” Victor waved a hand at him, “I love you!’
“BLEEP you!” the werewolf flipped him off in response.
Victor continued his flight around the Moooon, past the dark tentacles on its back, until he reached a light behind it. A floating orb of green goo, radiating love and warmth.
“Welcome, Victor!” the wise creature spoke to his mind, bringing him clarity. “I am your spirit animal, your totem! The green slime!”
The slime? Awesome! And here he thought he would have a rabbit for a totem!
“The signs were there since the beginning, slimy one! You have finally embraced your inner stickiness!”
Congratulations! For meeting your spirit animal, the mighty green slime, you earned the [Slime Totem] personal perk!
[Slime Totem]: Mindless [Slime] type see you as one of their own and do not attack you unless provoked first; otherwise, +5 to charisma when interacting with sentient [Slimes].
“The sliminess is the key, Victor!” his spirit animal told him. “To glue all species together is the key to peace! Your soft stickiness must conquer all! But you cannot glue the hateful one, no, for she is unjellifiable!”
“What must I do?” Victor asked as both flew beyond the Mooooon, towards a strange black wall beyond the edge of reality.
“You must stick to your dragon! Be the slime armor that coats his scales, the shield that will protect his life! For if he dies, the hateful one’s arrows of light will burn everything! Only Vainqueur can defeat the hateful one! Only him! But only you can end the war! Stickiness, slimy one! Only stickiness can end the cycle of destruction!”
“I will jelly them all!” Victor promised his totem, as he kept flying forward and left the slime behind. “I swear!”
“May the glue be with you!”
And then Victor’s flight ended when he crashed against the black wall like a window, landing on soft paper.
“... Vic? Vic is that you?”
Victor recognized Camilla’s voice, rising back to his feet to find himself in the middle of a giant map. Five colossal deities, the Dread Three, the Moon Man, and Shesha, looked at him with surprise. From their point of view, he must have looked no taller than a mouse.
“How did he get in?” Deathjester asked. “No, seriously, how? How did he get in?”
“Victor, I am sorry, but this is a private, god-only gathering,” Camilla said with an embarrassed smile. “I will have to kindly ask you to leave...”
The goddess paused, as she examined his fleshy bits and the bite marks all over his skin. "Oh, my..."
“Why is he naked?” Shesha asked, more confused than anything. “Did Cybele send him?”
“Hey, friends, what are you doing in my hallucination?” Victor asked, still high.
“Gamete prophet, what are you doing in my hallucination?” the Moon Man answered, just as high as his chosen.
“I knew it was your fault!” Veran complained. “I told you all we shouldn’t have let him gamemaster this session! It never ends well!”
Deathjester sighed. “Moon Man, please send him back home.”
“Yes, Gamete Prophet, come back after defeating the Final Boss, if you can,” the Moon Man asked kindly. “And congratulations for your thirty-two new eyes.”
“What eyes?” Victor asked, having only two.
“Oh, sorry, I am looking a bit too forward.”
“Roll me!” Dice, the only god with Victor’s size, jumped on the map next to the Vizier, crushing Atlantis while at it. “Roll me for my turn!”
Pushed by insanity, and the drug, Victor lifted the dice above his head and stood in front of the gods, menacingly.
“No, no, no, human, don’t!” Veran panicked, trying to throw him off the board.
And Victor rolled Dice.
“Twenty!” the luck god shouted like a child. “Natural twenty! New stuff!”
A surge of world-shattering magic swallowed Victor whole, and all went dark.
Victor woke up with the worst headache of his entire life.
Oh, gods… oh gods, the pain… he could barely feel his body, and the sun on his eyes didn’t improve his mood.
|For undergoing a harrowing spiritual journey, you have gained a natural Resistance to all forms of recreational drugs. You may or may not come to regret it.|
His eyes acclimated to the sunlight, his ears to the sound of the jungle, and his skin to the sensation of grass on his back.
“Minion, you are awake!” Vainqueur looked down on him with a joyful look. “Finally.”
“My… my armor…” Victor panicked, for he was cold, and covered with bite marks. “Where did my armor go?”
“You desecrated it,” Vainqueur replied absentmindedly. “Thankfully, Sweet Chocolatine recovered your scythe and underwear.”
“Friend Victor, I am so proud of you,” Vainqueur said with fondness. “You tried, and that is the important thing. I admit that I was very worried when you flew towards that cursed lead hellhole in the skies after you destroyed these puritanical birds... but you tried to fulfill your minion duty.”
“Did what? I don’t remember… uh, my head, it hurts so much…”
“It is my fault, minion,” the dragon reassured him. “I should have told you we red dragons have a serious dwarf intolerance, and you inherited it. I do not know how many you ate to get that drunk, but one was too much already.”
“I… I don’t understand…”
“I know. We are superior beings. We think we can control our dwarf addiction, that you can contain your thirst with one or two. But we cannot. You cannot dwarf responsibly, minion. No dragon can. To dwarf, or not to dwarf, that is the only choice. So, when you are confronted by dwarves, do the courageous thing. Say no. Say no to dwarves."
What kind of nonsense...
"In any case, we are almost to El Dorado, so get back up. Furibon will not commit suicide alone.”
And there was something sitting on his lap. Something warm. Victor managed to raise his head, to peek at it.
It was that damn cat.
Looking up at him with smug, triumphant eyes.